Monday, 30 April 2012

Can One Still Game and be a Lapsed Gamer?

Self indulgent? Perhaps. But not without a point.

Last post I called myself a lapsed gamer, or at least suspected myself of being one. My friend Rad said that I should write an article about lapsed gamers, and since I think that's a fine idea that's exactly what I'm doing now.

The first and perhaps most obvious question is what is a lapsed gamer? I wouldn't say that a lapsed gamer is someone who used to play games but now completely doesn't; that's someone dropping gaming as a hobby for whatever reason. No, rather I define a lapsed gamer as someone who still has interest in gaming as a whole, but might not engage in it much. A lapsed gamer is also more likely to stick to certain games, at least I believe that's an important part of it.

Taking that definition into account, I'd definitely say that I'm a lapsed gamer. I'd argue that being a lapsed gamer makes me no less interested in gaming trends and games themselves, nor does it mean that it's a poor choice for me to be writing this blog. Part of me honestly thinks that if games became a job for me that it might help me recenter my view of them and go towards rekindling gaming habits. At the moment though I'd say that I'm stuck in a rut, that rut being composed of Team Fortress 2 and The Binding of Isaac. So that brings me to my next question: why have I become a lapsed gamer, and what makes lapsed gamers?

 I think the biggest issue for a lot of people, myself included, is time. Between work and other general day to day stuff, there's just not as many hours in the day to devote to gaming anymore. Now, I know that concerns like this are why things like save systems have been invented, but I think it's also a part of the mindset. I'm not going to lie, when I game I like to feel as if I've accomplished something; that something can be beating a level, overcoming a particularly hard boss, having some good rounds online, the list goes on.

The thing is though, with less and less time to devote to games, playing new games feels like ... well I'm not sure. Games don't demand your time (at least I've gone on the record as saying that good ones don't), but without the time to invest in making solid progress I guess that I feel guilty. I know it sounds crazy, but if I play a game and don't feel like I've gotten anywhere then I just generally feel bad. My definition of "getting anywhere" might be a little strict due to the fact that I'm somewhat of a completionist, but I think that people can perhaps understand where I'm coming from.

I think that's why TF2 and BoI hold such an appeal to me at the moment: the former is something comfortable, something that I can play a few rounds of and then think no more. There's no real metric for progress, just hop in and do whatever the hell floats your boat. In the case of BoI though I think it's the fact that the game is designed to be bite sized: a run takes about an hour at most, and getting different combinations of items is fun and helps keep the experience fresh.

What does this mean for larger games though? In my own case it means that I'll pick something up, but never get around to playing it because I'm worried that I can't invest enough time. That's precisely why I haven't touched inFAMOUS or Prototype yet, something I'm probably going to have to force myself to do very soon just to get over that kind of mindset. This doesn't mean that I won't enjoy those games, they seem right up my alley, it just means that I'll have to tackle the issue of getting into them a little differently then other people would.

Of course, I'm a somewhat odd case I'll admit. There are other reasons for lapsed gaming, some I share and some I don't, but those are better expounded upon tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I understand what you are going through. I was in a rut myself last year around this time in fact and picked up Assassin's Creed 1-Brotherhood from a GameStop buy 2 get 1 free sale. Really got pulled into the first one and marathoned it and quickly moved onto AC2 with a break between it and Brotherhood as I was feeling burn out.

    Since then though I have kept a pretty steady flow of gaming. I normally give myself an hour of gaming a day, sometimes more when I get a brand new game.

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